I’m in the September issue of Family Circle Magazine, which just hit the news stands yesterday. I happened to be out and saw it there and it was fun to see my little blurb in there along with a mention of my book, 100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends.
I’m thrilled to be in Family Circle, especially with such a strong group of relationship writers, but I’m equally excited with this thoughtful survey. They collected opinions on women’s friendships, a subject near and dear to my heart. I think the more we talk about the importance of friendship, the better we will be at establishing strong, healthy bonds.
Reconnecting With a Long-Lost Friend
For this article, I was asked specifically about reconnecting with a long-lost friend. I’ve done this several times. Facebook in particular has been a good way to catch up with people, but sometimes “life” will also bring you back with people. I’ve also had people contact me when I had no interest in re-starting our friendship. I think it’s important to do an honest evaluation about why you are no longer friends. With some people, life happens and you go in different directions. Those friendships are easy to start up again when life brings you back on the same wavelength again.
With other people, though, it’s not as easy.
In Family Circle, I talk about reconnecting after a falling out. This assumes that both people want the friendship to move forward, meaning that there are apologies and forgiveness. If one person is refusing to look at what they did or refusing to forgive, then you can’t really move forward. One common mistake people make is behaving like a buffoon toward someone and then getting tired of behaving like a buffoon and just expecting that person to be “over it” too. It doesn’t work that way. They still think you’re a buffoon… because what else have you showed them?
Another issue is that sometimes people apologize quickly because they don’t like to argue, but then act the same way again. If your friend is trying to point out your behavior and you can’t see it, your friendship will never move forward in the way you want.
What If You Haven’t Spoken In Years?
Life causes some friendships to drift apart, but the good news is that these types of friends are easy to reconnect with. A text or phone call will help you get reacquainted, but be sure to ask about her life first. There’s nothing worse than getting a lengthy email from a long-lost friend that goes on about their life without asking about yours. These types of emails feel like you’re only reaching out to brag rather than restart the friendship.
In order for any friendship to work, you have to show interest in your friend’s life, and that’s doubly true when you haven’t spoken in a while.
If emailing feels weird, reach out on social media. Even if you haven’t seen your friend in years, you can feel as if you’re still getting that close, day-by-day connection through Facebook or Instagram. Sharing the small details of your day, pictures of family outings, or even frustrations can help you get reacquainted.
Your Friend Moved Away… Boo Hoo… But Wait! Staying In Touch Is Easy!
Facebook is great for long-distance friends to stay in touch, but it isn’t the only option. Facetime and Skype will help you chat while still seeing your friend’s facial expressions and tone. Conversations are always better when you can get some of the nonverbal clues your friend is giving.
If your friend lives far away, you could always look up a halfway point using a site like Meetways.com. You could meet somewhere for a lunch or dinner or even make a long weekend out of it.
If someone wants to reconnect I would ask:
- What’s different about this relationship now?
- Did something happen that showed this person’s character in a negative way?
- Was the friendship one sided?
Only you know what is right for you and your friendship. If you had a friend where you had to do all the calling, all the communication, you had to always go there to see him or her… will it be any different now? I find that when you stop adding to a relationship like this, your friend may contact you years down the road when they feel like celebrating news or catching up, but until then, they don’t care. A friend who wants to reconnect only so they can gloat or be nosy isn’t worth your time. Be aware of the people who are curious about your life and want to see your pictures and Facebook posts but don’t want to have a real relationship with you. Find the friends who want to be there for you no matter what and most importantly, want the best for you.
Check out the September 2016 issue of Family Circle or view the article online.